[JURIST] UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown Wednesday vowed to push for the passage of a new anti-terror bill [BBC Q/A] that would allow British authorities to detain terror suspects up to 42 days without charge. Current law only authorizes detention without charge for 28 days [JURIST report], but bill proponents have argued that this time limit endangers national security. The Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008 [draft text, PDF; bill materials] also includes provisions creating a registry of convicted terrorists and making terrorism an "aggravating factor" in sentencing for non-terrorism offenses. Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs have opposed the legislation, fearing it could infringe on civil liberties. The Guardian has more.
UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith [official profile] first proposed a 42-day detention period [JURIST report] in December 2007. The proposal followed statements made in June 2007 by former UK Home Secretary John Reid calling for longer pre-charge time limits, and a proposal [JURIST reports] floated last July that would have allowed the extension of the 28-day limit after a declared state of emergency and permitted judges to authorize weekly extensions for up to 56 days subject to parliamentary notification.